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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    .
    I must say that this post must be the NP Post of the Year, summarizing as it does the situation magnificently.

    Now if those who support the WSR Management can please justify the decision to serve notice on the S&DRT at Washford then we might move the debate along, I look forward to you rising to the challenge
     
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  2. GWCBC78

    GWCBC78 New Member

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    Can you explain in a little more detail how everyone in the WSR is part of the problem? How is someone who turns up and lets say looks after the gardens at BL a part of the problem? How is someone who gives up most Saturdays to be a TTI a part of the problem? How is someone who gives up most Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year to do various roles as a volunteer a part of the problem? I'm confused.
     
  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I presume under the principle of “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I think several of those WSR volunteers who have suddenly appeared overnight have admitted feeling uneasy over some of the actions taken by the board even if they dislike all the discussion here more. Have they expressed their uneasiness to the board? I would have done, and in the case I have in mind on my own railway where I did enough people did the same for the board to do a u-turn. In that case I was also similarly distressed at the amount of rubbish and personal insults being posted here and elsewhere as I was on the issue itself by the way, but that didn't stop me from clearly seeing the rights and wrongs, as I saw them, of the issue.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  4. Bail5029

    Bail5029 New Member

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    Well i'm sure that 'post of the year' will come in the form of a pristine locomotive setting off from BL for the first time after this pandemic will usurp that. And no, I most certainly won't.

    We collectively t,do not hold all the facts and most definitely are missing parts of the story. What has occurred to provoke such actions? Was there regulatory reasons? I don't know and neither do you. I like you would love to see more answers, though I am quite happy to wait for them and avoid jumping to conclusions. As oppose to participating in a conversation that is running in circles.

    What can be said is that it does not define the WSR, as much as i'm sure many of you would want to tell me otherwise. Its the people. If Noel wants to accuse an entire workforce as 'part of the problem' then so be it. Though I strongly believe his mindset would be changed after a conversation with 1 or 2 of our wonderful staff and volunteers. Many of whom's response to this forum would be "Nat pres, whats that?"
     
  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Your posts are the ones that suggest that they do damage the WSR. My comments were that most posters here did not think they did.
    But as you and your friends appear to be at the coal face then we accept that you seem know that the criticisms made here are affecting the line. I doubt any poster hates the line, but noticeable is the hostility from some WSR people to any form of criticism of the lines management. In a thread about the WSRA a few years ago many WSR people engaged and encouraged criticism posted on NP. Double standards?
     
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  6. Bail5029

    Bail5029 New Member

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    Perhaps they have and you don't know about it? If, like you say there are many people unhappy with the boards actions. Then being just and logical thinkers, they may have done just that. Though that should be done as a private affair, as i'm sure those people still want the board to succeed. After all, they have done a good job of stabilizing the WSR financially, and in working alongside the ORR to improve in a number of areas. Something I have personally thanked many of them for, As I wouldn't have had a railway to continue my hobby on otherwise. If I had a problem with what my works management were doing, I wouldn't spout off on here, I'd have a quiet word in the break room and simply lay down my thoughts in a professional manner. I'm sure you see my point!
     
  7. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    As it will at every other railway in the UK, and elsewhere, the problem here though is that The working volunteers will turn up and carry on, Very much the situation my old railway ( MHR) had back when we had internal issues, But the issue here is the actions of the Board towards its own people, first there was the removal of the fair grievance procedure, then the serving of a notice to quit on a supporting group, that is largely unknown in preserved railways, from an outsiders view looking in, its almost as if you have had an hostile takeover from with in, and this person is playing his own game towards complete power, if he gets rid of one supporters group, whats to say others won't be next, isn't he on record as saying, if the railway goes insolvent, I could use that to buy the controlling interest in the company, if I have got it right, then that's enough to question is JJP the right person to be in charge ? , if he is looking at his own personal agenda. rather than the railway's.
     
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  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It's true we don't have all of the facts, but we have enough, I feel, to make an interim judgement. We know the S&D trust was given a 50 year lease only a couple of years ago. And we know the WSR is being taken to court over the decision to evict them 2 years in. We've also had some press releases on both sides, with those on the WSR side being extremely unprofessionally written, and in cases, demonstrably untrue. Whether there were any "regulatory issues" is a secondary point. It provides no excuse for terminating the lease so early, even if they're true, and the fact that it apparently came out of the blue with no prior discussion about how to resolve these issues speak volumes.

    If there's more to it than that, then if I was a volunteer I'd be absolutely furious that the board hadn't put the case more accurately and openly, leading to pages of discussion that clearly some folk are unhappy about here, but more importantly, yet another damaging round of headlines in the railway press. You're right, most people haven't heard of NatPres, but an awful lot of people take Steam Railway and Heritage Railway magazine, both of which contained damaging headlines about the WSR. To the casual observer, all they see is the WSR falling out with themselves again. When they then see a round of appeals from various different railways, why would they donate to one where they're spending money fighting a court action instead of doing heritage railway stuff?

    Then that's great, and those that do can rest easy. I do note that in your previous post though you said you were quite happy to wait. I wouldn't be. There's no doubt the current board have done a lot of good with respect to the areas you outline, which is why up until the S&D trust affair, I and others were reluctant to pass judgement despite some of the worrying things heard. Unfortunately, that was what made me make up my mind - having the WSR being taken to court for a disagreement is a defining thing in a chairmanship in my opinion and shows a total failure to manage relationships like that.

    PS quite agree on post of the year, there's a long way to go yet!
     
  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Unfortunately they appear to be steering it towards the buffers :-(
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm not actually sure we do know that, unless I missed it. The SDRT press release (20/03/2020) said:

    "Accordingly, we have appointed solicitors to handle this situation."​

    Which isn't good, but isn't the same as being taken to court - unless there has been a more recent update I have missed.

    What I would say for those WSR supporters though bemoaning the apparent degree of hostility to the WSR: I don't think the vast majority of people are hostile to the line. But no other line on this forum undergoes remotely close to the degree of comment about its overall governance. Moreover, that has been going on for the best part of ten years: the faces change but the arguments continue. That must surely lead to a degree of introspection from those at the coal face to wonder what it is that is unique about the WSR?

    For a long time I wondered if it was structural, but there are other railways (notably the SVR) with somewhat complex structures that nonetheless get them to work - so while I think the structure isn't ideal and definitely hinders the line when it comes to funding, there must be some other reason. Equally, while the regulatory, demographic and financial pressures on the line are undoubtedly severe, they also aren't unique to the WSR: all lines face those pressures to some degree.

    For my part, I don't believe that there are bad people running any of the organisations on the WSR, or that they don't have the best outcome, as they see it, for ether railway at heart. Even the Ex-6 I am sure were acting in what they perceived as the best interests of the railway. What seems to be lacking though is a degree of introspection: if I were running an organisation or team that consistently attracted the level of comment shown, my first thought would always be "what am I doing wrong?" rather than "let's shoot the messenger".

    Tom
     
  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think I saw somewhere mention of "legal action" but which again, isn't necessarily the same as going to court, I should have written "potential to end up in court".
     
  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Or, in the case of the WSR, it would be appear to be that first the management bashes volunteer groups such as the S&DRT, then the railway loses support etc.
     
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  13. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    Well, that certainly made me laugh!
     
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  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    And does that "personal phone call" also apply to all the hard working volunteers of the S&DRT, thanking them for their 40-odd years work at Washford and the continued use of their engine, and seeking how best to help them 'move forward'?
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    (Light blue touch paper.....)
    Are we in fact looking at some insidious Byzantine scheme, leaving the eventual return of the WSR to the big railway as the only viable route forward?
    (...... and retreat to a safe distance)

    Am I just joking?
    (Never return to a firework once lit)
     
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  16. Herald

    Herald Member

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    Surely there is a need to separate two issues.

    Firstly all volunteers or paid staff working to improve the condition of heritage assets are to be commended. They are the unsung heroes often working in unpleasant conditions at great personal expense but hopefully enjoying with the rest of us the services operated by those assets. Sometimes there will be negativity on here in livery debates or comment about exact historic authenticity and some may lament comments here about the compromises needed to comply with modern regulations, generally however there is much respect and gratitude for the hard working front line and administrative processes which keep them going.

    Secondly and more contentious will be the management practices which determine business priorities and the restrictions placed on staff (volunteers and paid), visitors and supporters. Which loco to overhaul first, what fare concessions to offer, which coach to paint, how many trains to run etc. etc. If we return to our hard working front line volunteer how will these priorities and restrictions impact them and how much will they care? Maybe many will be able to enjoy their passion untroubled by what happens elsewhere until quite properly concerned when they see bad publicity about the wider organisation. The question then becomes one of should we shoot the messenger (you could say the Chinese approach to the first doctor to report an issue which we now know to be a new Corona Virus) or should we welcome debate, as often happens on here, in the hope that the debate will help those charged with difficult decisions about priorities to act for the good of the wider enterprise. When management demonstrates a bunker mentality and seeks to suppress dissent with what look like bullying tactics one shouldn't be surprised that an organisation finds itself subject to wide discussion, stifling that discussion is unlikely to improve the situation.
     
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  17. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    Me & a few other volunteers I know totally agree with you.......lets keep on track....
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The buffers are usually found at the end of the line. At least that is better than going round a loop indefinitely.:)
     
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  19. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    Groundhog_Day_(movie_poster).jpg
     
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  20. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Maybe so but the tight space at Watchet means you cannot reverse as there is no passing loop.
     

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